Jeffco superintendent Dan McMinimee is among Jefferson County officials at the center of a storm over proposedchanges to the American history curriculum
that wouldemphasize patriotism and downplay civil disorder
. Now, in a letter to parents, McMinimee is trying to calm the waters, emphasizing that no decisions have been made yet and maintaining that his concern over student protests at numerous schools is about safety, not the criticism being heaped on the likes of school board member Julie Williams, who floated the proposal in the first place. Continue to read McMinimee's letter, as well as a press release from Williams explaining her position, as featured in anearlier post
Letter to parents by Superintendent Dan McMinimee.
In the wake of the demonstrations that are being held this week by many of our students, I want our parents to have information about what we're doing to keep children safe while at the same time, respecting their right to free speech. While I hope that students will remain in their buildings and classrooms, I also recognize their passion around the issue of the Board of Education-proposed curriculum committee. Working with our law enforcement partners in Jefferson County, we are doing our best to ensure that students are safe when they leave school property to protest.
For those who may not be familiar with the resolution,board member Julie Williams has asked that the board create a board-appointed community committee which would review district curriculum and make recommendations. Ms. Williams suggested that the proposed committee review the content of the AP U.S. History curriculum. The board did not take any action on the resolution, but instead tabled it until a future board meeting.
Many of our high school students have reacted to the proposal, making their voices heard. I have personally met with a group of students from Evergreen and Lakewood high schools, listening to their legitimate concerns, answering their questions and providing them accurate information. In addition, members of my leadership team have also met with and listened to students at several other high schools today. We want our students to know that we respect their viewpoints and have heard their anxiety over the issue. My team and I will continue to meet with any student groups who have questions and concerns regarding the proposal. Our students deserve to be heard and need to know that they can have a role in shaping their education.
Board member Williams did issue a news release today, clarifying her resolution and expressing dismay over the reaction it has caused. I have, and will continue, to relay many of the comments I've heard from our students to members of the board.
We do have multiple board policies already in place that outline the review of curriculum materials and give parents or community members the opportunity to express concerns. Those policies include a review of new and existing curriculum by a committee made up of teachers, district leadership and community members. I know that all of our existing policies, and the resolution proposed by Ms. Williams, will be discussed at a future board meeting. I want to reiterate that nothing has been decided yet.
The past two days have reinforced my belief that Jeffco has great students who care deeply about their education. I'm proud to be their superintendent and hope that we can continue to focus on the excellent teaching and learning that's happening in our classrooms.
Superintendent Dan McMinimee
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Julie Williams press release:
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